TT 45: Dave Brubeck, Jon Christensen, Peter Lieberson

Greetings from Sheffield.

Legendary jazz composer Mike Gibbs came to the Birmingham gig, that was really pretty cool. Got a snap with Jorge Rossy:

And I saw Mark Padmore yesterday in Cambridge. He was giving a masterclass in Bach passions, which was inspiring!

New DTM:

Musings about Dave Brubeck.

RIP Jon Christensen.

In the wake of my substantial Peter Serkin obit, I updated the overview of Peter Lieberson. Great music!

TT 43: Dance Sonata; Harold Mabern, Richard Wyands, Larry Willis

Tomorrow — we will be on closer to 8:30 than 8:

Dance Sonata was commissioned by Dance Heginbotham and will get a proper premiere at Jacob’s Pillow this summer with choreography by John Heginbotham.

Dance Sonata is in four movements — Allegro, Andante, Scherzo, Rondo — and is completely written out. The piece may be played solo piano but will be even more effective with bass and drums; I will be joined by Dylan Reis and Vinnie Sperrazza both at Halyards and at the Pillow. (To be brutally frank, we are making the demo tape for John the next day and a little Brooklyn gig will be a good opportunity to tighten up the polyrhythms.)

The aesthetic of  Dance Sonata will be no surprise for those that have heard Pepperland or Concerto to Scale. I guess I have truly arrived at “my style” when it comes to formal composition. Well, I turn 47 in February, so it’s certainly about time!

At Halyards, Dylan, Vinnie, and I will also play some normal jazz to fill out the hour. We start about 8:30, Diego Voglino takes over for the second set. Donation.


Chronology 7 for JazzTimes, a potentially controversial obit for three greats.

"It would be helpful if American institutions, academics, and critics with a bent toward European forms kept learning about the high art found in jazz clubs & on jazz LPs. Our very best American musicians are often hidden in plain sight."

TT 42: Thomas Perry, Jimmy Heath, Concerts in NY...


Thomas Perry has a new book out, A Small Town. I updated my overview with an edit so major that it is almost a new piece: “The Professional.”

Thoughts about the late great Jimmy Heath.

Pocket reviews of three concerts, AMOC chamber music, Lenny White w. George Cables, Porgy and Bess at the Met.

Gene Ammons on TV.


Press and gigs about yrs truly:

Sincere thanks to Pamela Espeland for taking the time to do an in-depth interview for the Star Tribune.

As a reminder for midwest friends: Friday (tomorow) is the Lex with Marcy Harriell, Saturday is Pepperland at Northrop (and Sarah Deming is at the Red Balloon). The Mary Mack & North Star Comedy Hour this coming Sunday will feature both Sarah and myself.

Text thread with Vinnie Sperrazza in re: the Lex jazz trio w. Erik Fratzke before Marcy joins us in Bacharach:


RIP Neil Peart!

I usually talk about the music of others, but in my eventual, scandalous, tell-all memoir, I will attempt to dig in to my own work, at least a little bit . Early Bad Plus is a case study in aesthetic complexity. Serious, not serious, serious again. An MC Escher staircase. On our cover of “Tom Sawyer” I feel it is really in balance in the right way. The piece is near-Liberace or near-Ligeti before culminating in Dave’s beautiful note-for-note recreation of an iconic drum fill......except, of course, that Dave has too few drums and the very idea of playing that fill next to a piano is on-the-face-of-it ridiculous.

It made us mad when critics repeatedly said we making fun of something like Rush, though. We weren’t making fun...but our aesthetic could indeed be ruthless. At the least, the agenda was complex.

Anyway….Thanks Neil! Thanks Dave!

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